Able to operate effectively in defence or midfield, Arturo Vidal was an integral part of Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa’s plans during much of the successful 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign.
Quick, powerful, skilful on the ball and strong in the air, the Santiago-born youngster came up through the youth ranks at Chilean heavyweights Colo Colo before making his top-flight debut in 2005 at the age of just 18. A first-choice starter by the following year, Vidal helped El Cacique conquer the domestic Apertura and Clausura championships and reach the final of the Copa Sudamericana.
Buoyed by another title success at club level, Vidal was Chile’s top scorer with six goals in the 2007 South American qualifying tournament for that year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup. He was also a key member of the side that finished third on Canadian soil, where he caught the eye of legendary striker Rudi Voller. The former German national coach travelled to Chile to secure his signature for Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, where he has continued to grow in stature.
Not a part of the Chile squad that travelled to the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela, Vidal had secured a starting berth by the early stages of South Africa 2010 qualifying. Inconsistency began to creep in, however, with Bielsa leaving him out for nearly a year following the historic victory over Argentina in Santiago. Brought back from the cold in time for the final run-in, Vidal’s fine performances underlined how important he will be to La Roja’s cause come this summer’s showpiece.